Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

Stormzy – Vossi Bop

Enough of a bop to earn him his first UK #1, enough of a bop to dethrone Taylor Swift in the process…


Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Slick almost to the point of featurelessness, “Vossi Bop” feels like the midpoint between the harder tracks and ballads on Gang Signs & Prayer. Stormzy sounds relaxed, fully in control of his surroundings, and it’s a little disappointing that there’s not more of the passion of his past releases here. But “Vossi Bop” is hypnotic in its groove, with Stormzy’s charismatic performance making the track deeply replayable, even if it doesn’t provide the most memorable moments.

Nortey Dowuona: Gleeful, warped synth work floats in the back, plying its trade in the kindergarten music room as popping, dribbling drums slide in. Stormzy surfs over it with an easy grace, a big, warm smile as he raps each word.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: That kick drum sounds incredibly cheap, especially when it becomes more active in the song’s second half. The beat itself is also minimal to a fault, and the bits where it incorporates the prepared piano-type plinking are a cheap gimmick. Stormzy occasionally provides interesting and rhythmically satisfying flows, but that’s really all there is to focus on when everything else is lacking in substance. And to think this is named after a dance that’s fun, sourced from a video that was soundtracked by Young Thug’s “Check”? This was originally made in 2016, but never officially released until recently; it should’ve been kept in the vaults.

Julian Axelrod: Maybe this is a cultural thing, but why are British (male) rappers so weird about sex? To be fair, I’m both American and a huge virgin, but body shots and facials sound like a horny teenager’s idea of adult intimacy. Yet you almost don’t notice, because Stormzy sounds so smooth, so self-assured, so fucking cool on this song. I appreciate the intensity of Gang Signs & Prayer in small doses, but it’s nice to hear him ease off the throttle and settle into the beat. There’s more space for his bars to breathe, but the Möbius strip they loop around the beat makes it clear he’s in full control. This is the quickest I’ve ever cottoned to a Stormzy song, Chuck Norris line be damned.

Taylor Alatorre: The beat is the kind of thing they might play in a TV show a couple decades from now to inform you that it takes place in 2015, assuming they can’t afford the rights to an actual Drake song from this period. Stormzy allows this beat to shape the contours of his austere, straitlaced flow, which is less hard-nosed street narration and more business-minded loss avoidance. There are no misfires, but no real fireworks either, aside from a shot at Boris Johnson which passes by far too quickly. Even if Stormzy really does have “nothing left to prove,” that doesn’t mean he has to rap like it.

Alfred Soto: This hybrid of “My Name Is,” “I Luv U”-era Dizzee Rascal, and 50 Cent’s benumbed accounting of conquests has the air of an imperial triumph, and perhaps that’s all Stormzy needs in 2019.

Reader average: [5] (2 votes)

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2 Responses to “Stormzy – Vossi Bop”

  1. @ julian: remember “sexercise”?

  2. what i would give to forget